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2017 Kane County Chronicle Best of the Fox

Local newlyweds win Martha Stewart’s American Made contest

Published: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Leo Kowal and Mary Rudakas are exhausted.

Since marrying Sept. 20, the Lily Lake couple’s online paper crafting business, SVGCuts.com, not only became a finalist in Martha Stewart’s second annual American Made program, but it also was named the winner Tuesday following an online voting period.

Kowal and Rudakas were interviewed Tuesday on Martha Stewart Living Radio, though not by her.

“That was nerve-racking to say the least,” Kowal said, adding, “It’s been exhausting.”

Although SVGCuts competed against five other finalists, Kowal said the win wasn’t surprising based on the other companies’ social media following and Web traffic. The numbers were in their favor, he said.

As American Made’s grand prize winner, Kowal, 31, and Rudakas, 32, will receive $10,000 to further their business, a feature on marthastewart.com and a trip for two to New York City. There, they will attend the American Made talks and workshops.

“It falls right as we’re taking our honeymoon to Massachusetts,” Kowal said. “It was kind of meant to be.”

SVGCuts began in 2009 as an Etsy shop that sold two-dimensional vector graphics to personal electronic cutting machine aficionados. It since has evolved into a source for off-the-page paper crafts.

Its participation in American Made hasn’t triggered an influx of business, Kowal said, but he noted that’s understandable since people need special equipment to use its products.

“There’s a big investment involved,” he said.

While it is possible something “really big” might come from winning the American Made contest, Kowal said, he and his wife will be content if nothing does, as they don’t want the spotlight.

He said it’s nice to be recognized by Martha Stewart and her company for what they’re doing.

“That alone is an achievement in itself,” Kowal said.

On the Web

Visit http://svgcuts.com for more information on SVGCuts, the 2013 Audience Choice Winner in Martha Stewart’s second annual American Made program.

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